Ce­cil res­i­dents hold vigil for Or­lando vic­tims

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ ce­cil­whig. com

— A can­dle­light vigil was held Mon­day night on the grounds of Rodgers Tav­ern to honor the vic­tims of the mass shoot­ing at an Or­lando night­club.

The early Sun­day morn­ing shoot­ing by a lone gun­man killed 49 peo­ple and wounded 53 oth­ers in what many are call­ing the worst ter­ror­ist at­tack on Amer­i­can soil since 9/ 11. In­ves­ti­ga­tors re­port that Omar Ma­teen, 29, pledged al­le­giance to the Is­lamic

PER­RYVILLE

State of Iraq and Syria, an over­seas ter­ror­ist group, dur­ing the tar­geted at­tack at The Pulse.

Kevin Mik­sis, with Ma­son Dixon Pro- Tain­ment, said he felt he had to do some­thing to ex­press the communal shock and grief felt around the coun­try. He con­sid­ered char­ter­ing a bus to take a group to a vigil held Mon­day night in Philadelphia. How­ever, the short no­tice made mak­ing ar­range­ments tough.

“I saw posts that peo­ple would go, but didn’t want to go to the city,” Mik­sis said. “I had to do some- thing.”

So Mik­sis in­stead got per­mis­sion from Perr yville to hold a Ce­cil County vigil at Rodgers Tav­ern. Turnout was small, but the peo­ple there were pas­sion­ate about their at­ten­dance.

Valda Ro­tolo said this tragedy “hurts my heart.”

“As a mom, I can’t imag­ine the hurt these moms are feel­ing,” Ro­tolo said. “My heart breaks for these peo­ple. Peo­ple need to care.”

David Hast­ings Jr., from

Havre de Grace, said places such as The Pulse, a gay night­club, are usu­ally safe havens for the gay com­mu­nity.

“A gay bar is not just a place to drink. It’s not hav­ing to worry about be­ing judged,” he said. “For some­one to tar­get that blows my mind.”

Erin Belote said that since the at­tack she has been re­volted by an in­crease in ho­mo­pho­bic com­ments.

“The dis­gust­ing things be­ing said, and the laugh­ing,” Belote, from Ris­ing Sun, said, adding she has fam­ily mem­bers and friends who are gay and could have eas­ily been among the dead and wounded.

“We are Or­lando too,” Belote said in a show of sol­i­dar­ity.

Hast­ings agreed, adding that there are never jokes made A can­dle­light vigil was held Mon­day night at Rodgers Tav­ern in Per­ryville to re­mem­ber the dead and pray for the in­jured in a mass shoot­ing at The Pulse, a gay night­club in Or­lando. There was also a re­quest to re­mem­ber first re­spon­ders who had to tend to the vic­tims.

about the 9/ 11 at­tack that killed nearly 2,800 peo­ple. He also be­moaned the self­ish at­ti­tude he

finds per va­sive in the coun­try.

“There is no more hold­ing your hand out to help some­one

else,” Hast­ings said.

Rep­re­sent­ing Perr yville, Com­mis­sioner Michelle Linkey and town ad­min­is­tra­tor Denise Breder joined the vigil.

“We all grieve in dif­fer­ent ways,” Linkey said, thank­ing Mik­sis for giv­ing peo­ple this out­let.

Breder en­cour­aged the vigil au­di­ence to pray for the fam­i­lies af­fected and for the hurt to have a full re­cov­ery.

Ro­tolo also urged those at the vigil to re­mem­ber the first re­spon­ders. She re­called read­ing a news re­port about po­lice and paramedics be­ing torn apart by hear­ing the in­ces­sant ring­ing of cell­phones in the pock­ets on the de­ceased as fam­ily and friends tried to reach them.

Af­ter light­ing can­dles, read­ing the names of the dead aloud and shar­ing their thoughts on the hor­rific events, Mik­sis closed the vigil with a note of cau­tion.

“We never ex­pected 9/ 11. We never ex­pected this. This is more than a tragedy. It’s an ab­so­lute tragedy,” Mik­sis said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Brenda Wad­dell takes a pho­tos of Yvanna Bright in her class­room as the two sec­ond-grade teach­ers toured the ren­o­vated Per­ryville El­e­men­tary School on Fri­day. The build­ing on May­wood Av­enue has been closed for the past two years.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

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